NEW VANUATU PRIME MINISTER NAMES CABINET

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 13) – Vanuatu's newly appointed Prime Minister, Ham Lini, has named new ministers.

Mr Lini came into office at the weekend after a vote of no confidence against former prime minister, Serge Vohor.

Sam Dan Avock is the new Speaker, while former leader of the opposition, Sato Kilman, is the new Deputy Prime Minster and Minister Of Foreign Affairs.

The five ministers, who resigned last week from the Vohor government, have all been rewarded with a portfolio in the new look Lini Government.

The ministers crossed the floor in protest at Mr Vohor's refusal to accept the cabinet's rejection of his decision to grant diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, which is against mainland China’s "one China" policy.

Taiwan has accused China of being behind the defeat of Vohor.

The election of Ham Lini to replace Mr Vohor has been widely reported in both China and Taiwan.

Taiwanese news services at the weekend quoted Taiwan's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kau Ying-mao, as accusing China of maneuvering the Vanuatu Parliament into voting Serge Vohor out of office in an attempt, he claims, to influence the result of Taiwan's own weekend elections.

Mr Kau, who has just returned to Taipei after being in Port Vila, claims this is the second time China has embarrassed Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian at an important time - the first being Nauru's switching of allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2002, around the time the president was celebrating his first year in office.

In Beijing, the news of the change of government in Vanuatu has also been on the news with a reference to what was described as Mr Vohor's one-man pact with Taiwan, plunging Vanuatu into a constitutional crisis.

Prime Minister Ham Lini's support for the one-China policy has also been highlighted.

December 14, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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